Vanderbilt Blair composition interview questions

My daughter applied ED to Blair for composition and just heard that she passed the pre-screen and will be interviewing. Can anyone give us an idea of what to expect for the interview? This will be her first one.

Thanks in advance!

(Also, I’m not able to PM yet, so if anyone wants to PM me, that would be great!)


I will PM you!

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I have the same question but for JSOM composition and music technology interviews at a couple of other schools. The interviews are only 20-30 mins so I’m not sure what the schools are trying to evaluate in that time period?

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Interviews for composition range from rigorous to relaxed. Interviewers tend to go over scores/work. They may ask about your compositional process, experience, goals and how you work with a teacher. They may ask about composers you admire. Sometimes knowledge of 20th and 21st century works helps. The part of the interview for music technology may include technical questions.


My daughter’s interview was 60 minutes. Notable questions during the interview were:

  1. Name some composers you admire.
  2. Who is the weirdest composer you can tolerate listening to?
  3. What is the role of music (in film, etc.)?
  4. What is your mission as a composer?
  5. Name favorite books and movies.

My daughter suggests making a list of the admired composers to have handy during the interview. Also, make sure to have a couple of your own school-specific questions to ask.


Thank you so much @compmom. This is really helpful. My DS is hoping to convey his passion/personality but also wants to make sure that he’s providing substantive and technical answers. 20 mins isn’t a lot of time. I don’t know how they evaluate the candidates in that time period. We are hoping that most of the evaluation happened at the prescreen level and that getting interviews for comp or music technology has better odds of admission than MT, for example.

Great advice @BadgerPam. We will be utilizing these suggestions. Congratulations to you all!

Wow, great questions! Thanks for sharing! Good luck!


Yes I do think much of the evaluation has already happened during prescreens, for composers. Faculty have seen the scores, which are most important, read the applications, listened. For composition, fit can be important (though less so at the undergrad level). Fit goes both ways, so it is important for the applicant to also make sure it is the best school for them, during the interview.